CMS Announces Agency’s First Rural Health Strategy

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the agency’s first Rural Health Strategy intended to provide a proactive approach on healthcare issues to ensure that the nearly one in five individuals who live in rural America have access to high quality, affordable healthcare. “For the first time, CMS is organizing and focusing […]

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CMS Draws Line in Sand on Medicaid Caps

Seema Verna, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), today rejected a request by the state of Kansas to cap an individual’s Medicaid benefits at three years. In a letter to Kansas officials, Verna noted that only if Medicaid recipients refused to meet any work requirements would it be possible to cut […]

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CMS Cites Cost Effectiveness of 2018 Obamacare Open Enrollment

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final report on the 2018 open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) policies, touting the cost effectiveness of the new approach. In 2017, CMS spent $100 million in advertising and promotion for open enrollment, coming out to $11 per enrollee; in […]

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Driven by Drug Costs, Health Care Spending Ratchets Up

The price of health care in the United States shot up 2.2 percent in February compared to 1.6 percent overall annual growth in 2016 and 2017, according to statistics gathered and released by health care consultancy Altarum. The lowest annual growth rate — 1.1 percent — came in 2015. At the same same, hospital prices […]

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CMS Blocks Idaho’s Attempt to Circumvent Obamacare

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) yesterday stepped in to void Idaho’s attempt to sell health insurance policies that do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS Administrator Seema Verma sent a letter to Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, and Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron saying […]

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HHS Allows States to Ban Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

On Friday, Jan. 19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced two major actions — in its words — “to protect life and the conscience rights of Americans.” HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is issuing new guidance to state Medicaid directors restoring state flexibility to decide program standards. The letter […]

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States Can Now Add Work or Job Training Requirements to Medicaid

UPDATE: One day after announcing states could institute work requirements for Medicaid, Kentucky became the first state to do so as CMS approved its 2016 waiver request. The state now requires able-bodied adult recipients to participate in at least 80 hours per month of “employment activities,” which include jobs training, education and community service. The […]

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CHIP Program Funded Through End of the Year

As part of a stopgap federal government spending measure passed today by both the House and Senate, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been authorized through the end of 2017. Meanwhile, funding for the federal government will expire on Dec. 22, presumably giving Republicans long enough to pass their tax reform reconciliation […]

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Health Care Spending Slows Nationally, Rises Individually

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported on Dec. 6 that health care spending in 2016 slowed its growth rate, whereas individuals’ out-of-pocket costs rose. In 2016 health care expenditures reached $3.3 trillion, an increase of 4.3 percent, following two years of rapid growth during the first years of the Affordable Care Act […]

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Hargan Named New Acting HHS Secretary

Confirmed and sworn in just a week ago as the number two executive at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Eric Hargan, has now been named the department’s acting secretary, taking over for Don Wright. Wright had previously been named acting secretary by President Trump following the Sept. 29 resignation of Tom Price, […]

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